Monday, June 28, 2010

Q&A: From the Heart

Question: Hi, Rodney. My marvelous husband is out of town, and I'm enjoying some quiet moments alone, as well as reading some of my favorite nonduality books. The tree branches are moving slowly in the warm breezes outside. Their unhurriedness and the books (Robert Adams' Silence of the Heart, etc) all seem to slow my mental chattering a bit.

Rodney: I'm delighted that you're having some time alone. A lot of us need that, including myself!

Q: I know that Nisargadatta, Sailor Bob, and all the nonduality sages say that we are not the body or the mind, but the ineffable awareness that knows the body and the mind. And there are rare moments when this is a reality for me, and not just an idea or a belief or a theory. One sentence from a recent email of yours keeps coming back to me: "Because presence isn't clear to you, you readily identify with what is clear--thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc."

Rodney: Right, and that really goes to the heart of the matter, pointing out, as it does, an unexamined process that is causing you to assume that either this presence of awareness isn't really there or that this nondual understanding is difficult to "achieve." But the simple fact of the matter is that there is no difficulty or achievement whatsoever--only a simple seeing or apprehension.

Q: Over the years I have gradually put on a pound or two every year, so that now at age 53, my weight has climbed to 220 pounds. I feel very self-conscious, embarrassed, and ashamed of my appearance as someone who is obese. I also have a big aversion to exercise and dieting. So there is this sense of being between a rock and a hard place. I don't like being fat, and I don't like doing what is needed to lose weight. If I am not my body, does it mean it doesn't matter how much I weigh or whether I am heavy or thin?

Rodney: I'm sure you already know the answer to this.

Q: Oh, I do. The advaita teaching that "I am not my body" can indeed be used as an excuse for ignoring any concerns, especially those relating weight. Perhaps I just wanted to get your take on it, or rant about it for while to someone who has become a friend.

Rodney: Your body
is an appearance. And by appearance, I mean that it is something that constantly changes. It is most certainly there, but it is not what you are. You are the cognitizing spaciousness that knows that your body is present. Still, it is only natural (even instinctive) to want to feel as physically comfortable as possible.

Q: And I do. But I also can't abide dieting or exercise. It's terrible, I know, but that's the case.

Rodney: Don't unnecessarily label or categorize the issue. That will only make the matter more off-putting. After speaking with your health provider about this (to insure that there is nothing medically causing your heaviness), you can look into ways to lose the weight that are more in synch with your particularly personality. If, for instance, you love watching certain TV programs--

Q: That would be medical dramas.

Rodney: Great. You could try watching them while walking slowly (at first) on a treadmill. Also, I have found--with numerous acquaintances who happened to be heavy--that when they lose a little weight, the chances are good that they will go on to lose a lot. Dieting, for its own sake, tends not to work because, quite frankly, your heart isn't in it. But after losing a few initial pounds, you are apt to feel lighter, healthier, and more attractive. Then, you will have a
natural incentive to lose more weight. You will already be feeling better and more energetic, and you will want to continue to feel better and more energetic.

Q: Hmm, interesting.

Rodney: And this could easily lead to your doing a bit of exercising, to build bones and muscles. You could also try eating less meat, which may reduce your weight a bit more, as well as make you feel less toxic and more vital. (Be sure to take a multi-vitamin/mineral tablet, though, so you'll be sure to get your needed nutrients). And again, be sure to do all of this in consultation with your primary physician or health provider--which I am neither. I'm just repeating--albeit compassionately-- what is coming up here. Perhaps some (or none) of it will be of help to you.

Q: Well, that actually all sounds good. I'm going to give it some serious thought--or non-thought!

Rodney: Excellent. Let me know how it goes.

Q: I keep telling myself I am not my body, but I don't truly believe this most of the time.

Rodney: Beliefs, one way or another, aren't going to help you. They are just varying thoughts coming up. And all of your attention is going to the preponderance of those thoughts, as well as to the discord (mentally and physically) that they are causing. Once you grasp the mechanics all of this (i.e., see how and why this mental chattering is happening), there is a quick and natural
relaxing of everything. Suddenly, there is a calmness within you to which you can bring your attention. And that calmness could well turn into a pause, through which you can recognize your pristine and ever-present nature.

Q: And I'll bet losing this weight will be a lot easier then! (Laughing)

Rodney: Well, it may and it may not. All that can said is that your actions will be from the fullness of your being. When options present themselves, you will act without hesitation. And even when you find yourself having to deliberate over something, that deliberation will happen smoothly and on its own accord. The body will become less of an issue because you will finally see and understand that you can't possibly be your body. Your knowledge isn't theoretical then. You aren't "telling" yourself anything. You are simply
living the truth. And then, of course, your Beauty will be both innate and extrinsic. Eternal even.


The interview that I recently did for the new online publication,
Nonduality Magazine, can be found at the following link:

If the link isn't highlighted (or is highlighted but won't open), simply copy and paste it into your Subject line, and click.


Sunday, June 20, 2010


What is it that is already present?


Understanding, in nonduality, is spontaneous and uncaused. It isn't dependent upon long and severe efforts, which lead only to experiences--which, in turn, lead not to Truth, but simply to the craving of those experiences.


The end of misunderstanding is the end of a defined and individual you.


U.G. Krishnamurti wisely pointed out that unlike saints, "sages don't depend on any authority; what they say
is the authority." This is because they are speaking from the source of their beingness. And there is no higher authority than that.


There is not even the
potential of awakening within you. For you are already "awakeness" proper. All that you need to do is pause a bit and see your Self for yourself. You neither have to struggle for it nor wait for it to happen. For your treasure is directly in front of you.


Nonduality is a penetrating inquiry into the ultimate Truth.


The mind is perplexed and bothered by the notion that toil and time aren't needed for self-knowledge. These are just two of the numerous spiritual myths that need to be seen through, including the one that there is a defined and constant mind in the first place.


Meditation, mantras, mindfulness, and even Kundalini yoga are all within the mental realm. Awareness is totally beyond that--so much so, in fact, that you can't use any of those activities or approaches as a stepping-stone to Presence.


Don't be overly-concerned with the return of normal mental reactions after you have been to some beautiful and halcyon setting, such as a park, forest, mountain range, library, or resort. This understanding isn't dependent upon extended periods of tranquility; and it can just as easily be had on a bustling street corner as it can on a lone stretch of beach. So simply feel the pause and the pointing within the words that you are reading right now. Be attuned to any spaciousness within you. It is a peace and clarity that you have never noticed before. But now you see and feel it. Now you know: It's not even Oneness--but beyond.


Note: An interview that I recently did for the new online publication,
Nonduality Magazine can be found at the following link:

If this isn't highlighted (or is, but won't turn clickable), simply copy and paste it to your Subject line, then click.

Monday, June 14, 2010


You are already what you are seeking!


What is it, right now, that is not a thought, an emotion, a sensation, an appearance, or a sound? Be very still, as you sit with this, as you ponder this. What is present, but is none of the things that is listed above? What precisely is left?


Even the Buddha tried concentration, piety, silence, quieting his mind, watching his breath, and self-mortification. But none of them lead him to recognize the essence of Existence.


You think you have to seek "enlightenment." But that is merely an assumption, and an incorrect one, at that. Further, the idea of enlightenment adds fuel to the fire that self-knowledge can be ambushed or aggressed, and that there must be the requisite period of time for all of this to take place.


The task of the teacher is to remove misunderstanding. And this is done not by transmissions or by the giving of spiritual names, but by pointing to the immediacy of our natural and ever-present state.


Emerson was correct: "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." Look into
what you are right now. Don't ever bother with the who, because the who is a fiction, an appearance. It comes up as a thought, a feeling, or a sensation, or a memory (which is simply another thought), and then is gone. Awareness is ever-there, and is precisely what you are. See, with ease and clarity, the astonishing obviousness of this fact.


You cannot "bring more presence" into your life. It isn't something that can be parceled in. Either this presence of awareness is there,
in toto, or it is not (or at least it appears not to be).


Your natural state is already before you and within you. But you keep returning to the level of the mind when you attempt to meditate, watch your thoughts, or a repeat mantra. Ironically, it is the moment
after doing any one of these things that you are back to your ever-spacious and pristine naturalness.


If you want to take a vow of silence, that's perfectly fine. But if your intent is to use that vow as a means of "reaching" Truth, it's not going to happen.


When you attempt to "be present," you--as a thought, an imagined entity--are trying to align yourself with presence. But how can a thought, which is a mere appearance, align itself with awareness, which is an actuality? Instead of attempting to "be present," wouldn't it make far more sense to bring your attention to the fact that you
are presence itself?


Put your trust in your own experience and understanding, and not in what was said or repeated in some ancient text. And don't waste time contemplating such vague notions as "life's impermanence," the "reconstituting self," and the "legitimacy of samsara." Simply see that thoughts, sentiments, and sensations come and go. But there is always something that fully remains: Awareness proper.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Review

You will certainly want to purchase The Life and Teaching of Sailor Bob Adamson (Non-Duality Press/£12.95 /$19.43). Compiled and edited by Kalyani Lawry, the book consists of two straight-forward sections: Part One ("The Life"), and the longer Part Two ("The Teaching").

Though Bob's life is covered in less than 75-pages and is "woven out of the fragments of memories and reflections" offered by him, there are plenty of captivating details relating to--among other things--Bob's becoming a sailor, his early and violent bouts with drinking, his meeting his lovely wife Barbara, his spiritual explorations (Methodism, Pentecostalism, Christian Science, TM, etc), and, of course, his encounters with Nisargadatta Maharaj (where, amazingly, we learn that "Bob realised the essence of what Nisargadatta was saying the first time he saw him").

The "Teaching" section is comprised of extracts from talks, interviews, and Question & Answer sessions, which were mostly held at he and Barbara's home in Melbourne, Australia. The industrious Gilbert Schultz, one of Bob's first students and the founder of the marvelous Urban Guru Cafe, transcribed and edited over 30 tapes from early talks and Q&As. And this became Bob's first book-- the nondual classic,
What's Wrong With Right Now Unless You Think About it?

On meeting Bob for the first time, Gilbert writes, "He was so ordinary. It took me a while to realise that he was totally genuine. What he shared with everyone was not some philosophical view. He spoke from the immediacy about the immediacy." Indeed, the hallmark of Bob's teaching is the clarity and ease with which he points to our natural state. He puts little or no emphasis upon his words or phrases in his pearl-like responses. And thus, we get such luminous declarations as:

"The search itself is the problem. While you are seeking, there is a belief that there's something you don't have right now but will get at some future time if you do certain things."

"You see, we miss the simplicity of what is immediate."

"In that full stop, the presence of awareness is there in all its nakedness, unadorned by any concept."

"You'll never find the answer in the mind, so it's pointless looking there."

Only That is a gem of a work and is admirably reflective of Bob's own persona and teaching style. And though concise, the book feels fully-blossomed. For Lawry, who obviously sorted through reams of material, was careful to include information that was not always complimentary to her subject. But Bob prevailed, thank God. And the journey, in the end, was no journey at all: Just a direct recognition of his ever-present state. And that understanding was absolutely central to Bob, "because without that, I had nothing."